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Letter to dvm360: Veterinary schools are in trouble, for-profit or not
Higher standards need to be placed on the quality of education provided.
In response to an anonymous letter titled “For-profit veterinary schools have a legitimate role to play” (October), the writer should know that I feel no animus towards the graduates of vocationally oriented veterinary schools, both U.S. and foreign. Rather, I regard them as professional colleagues and wish them the greatest success. Having paid high tuitions for what I believe to be an incomplete education, they bear significantly greater debt burdens than graduates of the majority of traditional nonprofit U.S. schools.
By asking how anyone, especially a dean, can “suggest that all changes that need to occur are external,” the writer indicates that he or she hasn't understood what I have written about the rapidly occurring retrograde evolution of veterinary medical education, due in large part to the proliferation and accreditation of schools that do not meet the published standards promulgated by the AVMA Council on Education, the accrediting agency for schools of veterinary medicine. Such schools have succeeded in undermining the structure and quality of American veterinary medical education. Their proliferation can best be explained by their high profitability: large class size, including several classes per year, high tuitions, no costly investment in teaching hospitals, and weak basic science and clinical programs.
That women are likely to receive lower salaries and benefits than men for equal work is of course unacceptable, but since veterinary medicine is now largely a woman's profession, women are in a strong position to correct this injustice. Equally worrisome is the steady decline in male veterinary school applicants. Any profession that attracts only one gender, male or female, needs to be deeply concerned about its future.
Robert R. Marshak, DVM, DACVIM